We use dealership customer experience interviews as one of the core techniques of Dealership Discovery, a research and consultancy programme designed to improve experience and efficiency in physical dealership environments.
Our tips below will give you an ideal way to start planning your own dealership customer experience interviews.
However, there are many things to consider when planning customer interviews. Of course, there are the research objectives and the questions you will prepare to get the information you want. You will need to plan how to record this information and collect it in a way that you can use it later. Then there are behavioural aspects to think about, especially if you are in a customer’s home or planning to talk about a sensitive subject.
What is more, you will have to consider all the practical things that are necessary to make the interview activities run smoothly. Think about scheduling timings, booking travel and logistics, sourcing the equipment you need, reserving dates in colleagues’ diaries, and arranging incentives to get customers to participate. You also have to assess risks and regulation and may need to make arrangements for your own personal safety or to get permits to meet regulations.
If you will be undertaking customer interviews for the first time then it is well worth taking some time to study beforehand. There are many great books which will improve your interviewing skills. For great resources on planning and conducting interviews take a look at the following :
Userpalooza by Nick Bowmast
Handbook of Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Measurement by Nigel Hill
The Practice of Market Research by Yvonne McGivern
Our Tips for Customer Experience Interviews in Dealership Environments
- Visit the dealership environment beforehand and experience service for yourself before developing your questions.
- Include questions about both what is important to customers and how the organisation performs.
- Use numerical rating scales as they are easier to understand and use for both customer and the interviewer.
- Ask factual behavioural questions first and then follow with attitudinal questions that they will have to think about – (customers will find this easier).
- Leave classification questions for demographics and segmentation until the end – (some customers may find these sensitive).
- Experiment with different questioning techniques such as ‘creative comparisons’ to add different dimensions to your insight and make the interview more interesting.
- Prepare the long interview questionnaire first then use this as the basis of any shorter intercept or phone surveys by removing longer qualitative questions.
- Print paper proformas and bring pens and clipboard. (Use digital tablets or laptops if you prefer however we find they make interviewing impersonal).
- Use a quiet and comfortable space such as an office or meeting room, or even a coffee-shop if close by.
- It’s fine and sometimes better to interview couples or small groups together – use your judgement.
- Use a team member as a note taker if you can.
- Film or record the interview if possible but only with the customer’s permission.
- Get the customers details if you can – name, phone number, email. (It will make your reporting ‘real’ and cover any possible auditing of your work).
- Be human, build rapport first, be curious, be empathetic and be yourself.
- Challenge when you think an answer is wrong or untrue – but be tactful.
- Be respectful of your customer’s time – start and finish when you say you will.
- Thank the customer and inform them how their input will be used and if and how they will be contacted again.
- Use payments or incentives if necessary but be mindful then can introduce bias.
If you are planning dealership customer experience or efficiency improvements then get our free Free Dealership Customer Experience Guide